Friday, January 30, 2015

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Athens yesterday (29.01). In statements that followed, the Greek premier said that there will be a new relationship of trust between post-memorandum Greece and the European Union. He added that the new government will pursue sweeping reforms that will address the root causes of the crisis in Greece.

Tsipras further noted that his government was aiming for “a comprehensive European and mutually beneficial solution on matters of common interest,” adding that “it will take time” for such an agreement to be reached. He stressed that his administration is open to discussions. “We are negotiating with safety, we are guaranteeing stability.”

On his part, Martin Schulz said that he and the Greek prime minster agreed on many points, "while others needed more discussion," and expressed his view that Tsipras’s government was not aiming to "follow its own course" independently of its European partners.

He further expressed satisfaction that fighting tax evasion will be the government's top priority and that the new government will not take any unilateral actions.

Newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias attended the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s extraordinary meeting in Brussels on developments in the Ukraine yesterday (29.01).

Upon his arrival, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias made the following statement: "Greece is working toward the restoration of peace and stability in Ukraine, and at the same time it is working to prevent a rift between the European Union and Russia."

After taking over from outgoing Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Kotzias spoke of a proactive foreign policy, characterizing himself and his colleagues - Alternate Ministers Nikos Chountis and Euclid Tsakalotos - as Europeanists, stressing that "we look forward to bridges with the new emerging world." He made special reference to the catalytic role Greece can play as a stabilising factor in the region.

A veritable revolution has occurred in papyrology – the study of ancient literature written on papyrus: scientists have managed to read ancient scrolls preserved in the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius. Thanks to X-ray technology, researchers have managed to decipher letters, and occasional words, mostly written in Greek, and include a large amount of work by Greek Epicurean philosopher and epigrammatist Philodemus.

According to D. Delattre, B. Seales, Mocella and Ferrero publication in Nature Communications, "for the first time X-ray phase-contrast tomography can reveal various letters hidden inside the precious papyri without unrolling them. This attempt opens up new opportunities to read many Herculaneum papyri, which are still rolled up, thus enhancing our knowledge of ancient Greek literature and philosophy."

According to Bloomberg’s 2015 ranking of the world's 50 most innovative countries, Greece is in the 29th  place, among more than 200 countries evaluated.

Bloomberg ranked countries based on their overall ability to innovate. It identified the top 50 in terms of: (i) R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP; (ii) manufacturing value-added per capita; (iii) high-tech companies domestically domiciled; (iv) education levels of a country’s workforce; (v) personnel engaged in R&D, and (vi) the number of patents granted.

Postsecondary education in particular is measured in four different ways. Greece ranks first in one post-secondary education sub-category, which measures the percentage of college-age population. However, as the index stresses, excellence is multi-factored and success is a combination of many prerequisites. South Korea tops this year's overall ranking, while the U.S. places 6th, and China 22nd.

Supernature is a cocktail by mixologist Alejandro Gikopoulos, which was recently listed among the top 101 cocktails in the world, according to cocktail guru Gary Regan [101 Best New Cocktails]. Gikopoulos is a finalist and will compete at the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition to be held in Sydney. "Supernature is my point of view on the Tiki culture of 2015, a new classic, based on the legendary Mai Tai and the always refreshing Pina Colada," Gikopoulos says.

Make your own Supernature: 101 Best New Cocktails: Supernature & Bacardi Legacy 2015: Watch Gikopoulos making a Supernature

The 1st Peloponnese International Documentary Festival is taking place in five cities of the region from January 28 to February 7. Kalamata, Tripoli, Sparta, Megalopoli and Amaliada are the host cities of the event which invites 14,000 visitors to attend the screening of 77 documentary films from 15 countries. 

The guest list includes directors Simone Bitton from France, Christian Rathner and Lukas Maurer from Austria and Oscar-nominated director of The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer. The Festival which takes up the torch from the Kalamata Documentary Panorama has scheduled a number of parallel activities, such as workshops inviting students and teachers to watch documentaries and meet the artists. The Festival is supported by the Embassy of Austria in Greece and the French Institute in Athens.

Visit: Mythical Peloponnese See also: Thessaloniki DocFest   & Aegean DocFest